eBooks: Penguin Does 2.0

Penguin Launches Penguin 2.0, iPhone App; Stanza Deal with Random House

The bigger news comes from Penguin Group USA, which today announced a new program it is calling Penguin 2.0, Called by CEO David Shanks, “the next evolution of the Penguin brand,” the Penguin 2.0 initiative at this point includes two programs, both centered around a new section of the Penguin Web site: http://www.penguin.com/whatsnext, which will feature a new blog and access to exclusive Penguin content, including enhanced e-books, videos and special print products.

So I went there:

And of the eight(!) titles, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle caught my eye:

At US$9.95, what does it offer?

Penguin Enriched eBook Classics Features:

* How to Navigate Guide
* Upton Sinclair Chronology
* Filmography and 1914 The Jungle Film Poster
* Early Twentieth-Century Reviews of The Jungle
* Upton Sinclair’s Letter to the Editor of The New York Times
* Suggested Further Reading
* The Jungle and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906
* The Jungle Book Cover Designs
* Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906
* Immigrants and the Meatpacking Industry, Then and Now
* Images of the Chicago Stockyards
* Images of Cuts of Beef and Pork
* Enriched eBook Notes

Ummmm … “Images of Cuts of Beef and Pork”???? What?

As for “Upton Sinclair’s Letter to the Editor of The New York Times.” it’s right here, for free, in this PDF link.

What about the book itself?

It’s been scanned by Google and the OCRed text is at the Internet Archive and in HTML at Project Gutenberg.

But would I want either of those?

I’ve pointed out the silliness of at least two of the “extras,” but I will admit that I would pay for a professionally-formatted eBook of The Jungle.

Would I pay Penguin’s ten bucks?

I don’t know.

On the one hand, that would encourage them to add material I don’t want or need to boost the sales price. That would also enable them to claim a floor on eBook pricing and then slap higher prices on newly-published eBooks, saying those prices are no worse than paying $10.00 for something “free.”

On the other hand, I do want professionally-formatted eBooks. And since The Jungle is in the public domain — and I’ve already read it and have no pressing need for it as an eBook right now — I could wait to see if someone else comes along with a less-expensive eBook edition.

Given that the extras aren’t so compelling to me, I’d be inclined to pass up Penguin’s edition and wait.

Here’s a hint, Penguin: Lower prices!

Supplemental:

The eBook Tax: Some Publishers Want Hardcover Prices to Be Ebook Pricing Standard

Previously here:

Penguin Books Does iPhone App

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